BYU’s offense overpowers Cincinnati in the second half to win first Big 12 game

BYU scores touchdowns on four of its last six drives to get fourth win in September.

(Rick Bowmer | AP) BYU cornerback Jakob Robinson (0) scores on an interception against Cincinnati during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Provo.

Provo • Kedon Slovis and the BYU offense stirred to life in the second half to win its first Big 12 game over Cincinnati, 35-27.

After an opening 29 minutes that left BYU with just two passing yards, the Cougars scored touchdowns on four of their final six drives to build a two-score lead midway through the fourth.

The stretch was capped off by a 1-yard rushing touchdown by LJ Martin on a short field.

Martin would have two touchdowns on the night, including a 29-yard score where he broke a tackle and outran the secondary.

Slovis finished 13-of-24 for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

On his second touchdown pass — a 59-yard throw to Chase Roberts — the quarterback sidestepped a would-be sack to deliver a ball that gave BYU breathing room. Roberts led all receivers with 131 yards on six catches.

Originally, though, things did not come easy for the Cougars.

BYU cornerback Jakob Robinson began the game with a pick-six, his third interception of the season.

It served as the Cougars’ only offense for most of the half as the offense went three-and-out and stayed on the field for just 20 plays. With under a minute to play in the first half, Slovis was 1-for-7 for just two yards.

In the meantime, Cincinnati controlled the first half. It rushed for 154 yards and outgained BYU 254-107 before the intermission. It held the ball for nearly 22 minutes, but it only converted it into 10 points.

The Bearcats hit a field goal with 44 seconds left in the first half to take a 10-7 lead. But allowed the Cougars time for a last-second drive.

Slovis hit Keanu Hill, Roberts and Darius Lassiter on three straight plays before the half to put together an 82-yard drive in 36 seconds and BYU took a lead into the half.

BYU’s offense would click from there on out.

BYU finished the month of September 4-1 and will have a bye week before going on the road to TCU.